The sixth of Roland’s annual Lifetime Achievement Awards has been presented to Duran Duran keyboard player Nick Rhodes as part of NAMMs’s Believe in Music Week.
Rhodes - with a surname like that, how could he not end up being a keyboard legend? - formed Duran Duran with bassist John Taylor when he was just 16 years old, and the band have gone on to sell more than 100 million records and achieve worldwide fame.
In a special video presentation, which you can watch above, Rhodes was honoured by keyboard legends including Mike Garson, Jimmy Jam, Ben Folds, Jordan Rudess and Giorgio Moroder.
“Over the years, not only have you produced amazing songs, but you’ve changed the way we think about synthesizers while doing it,” commented Rudess as he paid tribute to Rhodes. “From sparkling, shimmering arpeggios to cool pads to nuanced synth sounds, it had a big effect on all of us.”
Roland Vice President of Global Artist and Influencer Relations Brian Alli added, “Nick represents so many things that we believe in as a company. He started as a kid with a dream. He and his best friend go out and chase that dream, and here we are 40 years later celebrating.”
Roland Executive Officer Synths Masahiro Minowa, meanwhile, spoke about the symbiotic relationship between artist and manufacturer.
“While I hope our instruments have inspired you, I also would like to thank you for inspiring us,” he said. “Over the years, the ways you have used our instruments, and the unique and memorable sounds you have created, have driven our engineers to develop new instruments and new sounds. The relationship has been so important for us. We look forward to this creative cycle with you for many years.”
Accepting his award, a delighted Rhodes said: “Wow, a huge thank you to everyone at Roland for this glorious award. I am honored to receive it, particularly as Roland has been such a big part of my life since the beginning of my career. I started out in 1980 with a Roland System-100, then I graduated to a Jupiter-4, and shortly after to a Jupiter-8.
“You often hear guitarists talking about the ultimate Les Paul or the 1959 Stratocaster that they just can’t do without. Well, for me, this has always been the Jupiter-8. These were the instruments that really formed the sound palette that I developed my creativity from. I think, for all artists, these tools that we make music with are of the most importance, and I am very grateful to the developers at Roland for staying in touch with the way that music evolves.”